Re-reading all the words I wrote in November to pick out the good bits and sadly, there are so many ideas, and — less sadly — so many good bits, but they do not fit together at all, at all. I think I called it a jigsaw puzzle once — it is more like one of those three-dimensional puzzles where all the pieces have the exact same shape. I say “one of” — I don’t actually know that such a puzzle exists, but if it did, this conglomeration of words would resemble it.

Conglomeration is maybe not the word I want. But it’s not collection and it’s not cacophony and whatever it is, it starts with a C.

I don’t want Grace to be a story that gets stuck in a drawer, I really don’t. But yesterday I just bailed. I read the Parasol Protectorate all day long, finishing Book 5 this morning at about 11. So yeah, five books in 24 hours, not exactly the most productive use of my time. She deserved a better editor, in my opinion, although she did some fine retro-fitting to plug up her world-building inconsistencies. But I bet she got some letters of complaint before she did. Is that my problem, I wonder? Am I worried about people complaining? I don’t feel like it should be — so far, with a few rare exceptions, I’m my own harshest critic.

But really, I suspect it’s the jigsaw puzzle problem. When I started, I was writing three stories at once: a romance between Grace and Noah; a mystery about stock options, anonymous threats, and bodyguards; and the story of the ghosts. When I started over again from the beginning, back in the summer, I jettisoned everything except the romance, but now I’m back to trying to write the romance and the ghost story and feeling like the mystery was the glue that tied the two together. So, option one: keep writing, even though I’m lost and spinning in circles. Option two: back to the beginning and start revising, see where I can go if I fix all the things that are already bothering me. Option three: write something else for a while.

Option four: go back to bed and wallow in depressed, gray, miserable gloominess.

I’m thinking option one. I may not be getting anywhere, but as I learned from my re-reading of all my not-getting-anywhere-of-November, there were at least some good ideas. And I did discover — especially in the last few days of November — that when I simply force myself to write, whether I know where I’m going, whether the words are any good or not, things start churning around. I wrote a lot of words in two days. I didn’t much enjoy them. But I don’t think they’re bad words. I’m probably not going to use a lot of them, maybe not any, but pushing to create them was… well, it felt like exercise. Not necessarily fun, but healthier at the end, healthier when I was in the middle of it, and even if it’s not forward movement, at least it was movement.

Three o’clock and I haven’t had lunch, so I think I shall go hunt down some food. But after lunch, it’s time to start writing again. Today will be Day 1 of a fresh writing chain which is, someday, I am really quite hopeful — or maybe just thinking positive — going to end with a book.